Ron Wyden Threatens to Reveal Classified Information if the Memo Is Released

Where is Cleavon Little when you really need him?

I posted just a bit earlier on what looks like a tsunami of panic (hopefully justified) that is building on the left over the impending release of the memo developed by the House Intelligence Committee and now declassified by the White House.


Today, Nancy Pelosi demanded that Devin Nunes be fired…not sure how all that works but whatever. But the nuttiest reaction came from Oregon’s Ron Wyden.

Wyden is basically a progressive who has so civil liberties leanings. He’s probably most famous for getting James Clapper to perjure himself in Senate hearing:

Wyden: “I hope we can do this in just a yes or no answer, because I know Sen. Feinstein wants to move on. Last summer, the NSA director (Keith Alexander) was at a conference and he was asked a question about the NSA surveillance of Americans. He replied, and I quote here, ‘The story that we have millions, or hundreds of millions, of dossiers on people is completely false.’ The reason I’m asking the question is, having served on the committee now for a dozens years, I don’t really know what a dossier is in this context. So, what I wanted to see if you could give me a yes or no answer to the question: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Clapper: “No, sir.”

Wyden: “It does not?”

Clapper: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”

Wyden knew the answer to the question, he’d discussed it beforehand in a closed session with Clapper, and he sandbagged Clapper in public testimony. This proved Wyden was no a terribly serious person, that Clapper would lie if it suited his purposes, and that perjuring yourself before Congress is really not a big deal.


This is Wyden’s take:


As Glenn Greewald says, this is bluster:

Even if he wanted to do so, and could manage a majority of his committee to go along with him, the Senate does not have rules that permit that body to declassify documents. Only the House does (why? I have no idea, it just is).

I’d be among the first to say that there is too much secrecy in government. I know when I was a Pentagon staff officer I mastered weaving extraneous classified material into ordinary documents because classified memos got more attention and they were exempt from FOIA. There is nothing in a summary memo, particularly one crafted by intelligence professionals, that is going to give very much away. The memo has been reviewed and no one is even claiming there is anything dangerous, they are focusing on “misleading.”


But this does serve to underscore the desperation of the Democrats to keep the memo secret. And that, alone, is more than enough reason to make it public.


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